China Box Office: Luc Besson's 'Lucy' Dropkicks 'Guardians' out of Top Spot

Lucy Scarlett Johansson Film Still - H 2014

Lucy Scarlett Johansson Film Still - H 2014

The French director came to Beijing to promote the film, which has done over $430 million in global box office

Different kinds of superhero dominated the upper echelons of China's box office charts this week, ranging from a mind-altered Scarlett Johansson to a gathering of galactic misfits to a mythological Greek muscleman.

Luc Besson's hit sci-fi action thriller Lucy arrived in China with a bang this weekend, topping the box office rankings with a $20 million opening in the world's second biggest film market.

Lucy, which stars Johansson as a woman who inadvertently ingests a drug that gives her extraordinary mental abilities, notched up 3.19 million admissions and 112,356 screenings in its first three days.

Besson's EuropaCorp made the R-rated Lucy for a reported $40 million, and the movie has already taken $434 million internationally. Morgan Freeman also stars.

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Besson, who came to Beijing last week to promote the film, has said previously the timing of the movie toward the end of the summer gave it a boost, as it appealed to audiences tired of franchises and sequels, offering instead something "totally weird and strange."

The movie will also have been helped by the fact that much of it was shot in Asian locations, including Taipei in self-ruled Taiwan.

Lucy knocked Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy out of the top position, but the Disney film had a strong week nonetheless, taking $17.82 million to bring its 17-day cume to $88.04 million.

Guardians, which is only screening in 3D in China, had 164,721 screenings and 2.91 million admissions, according to the research body Entgroup.

Behind Guardians came Hercules, which stars Dwayne Johnson as the eponymous Greek demigod-turned-mercenary who must save a kingdom from civil war.

The movie took $10.82 million in its first six days, in which it had 140,355 screenings and 1.81 million admissions.

Hercules was produced and directed by Brett Ratner and based on the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars.

After the heroic top three, it was the turn of the antiheroes.

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The lovable losers of Ning Hao's risqué road trip comedy Breakup Buddies continued to pack them in, taking another $10.53 million to bring its cume to $183.29 million after 27 days.

Behind that was Hong Kong director Peter Ho-sun Chan's Dearest, a child kidnapping drama based on a true story, which added another $1.82 million for a cume of $54.63 million after 32 days on release. It features Zhao Wei, Tong Dawei, Huang Bo and Hao Lei.

Behind that was Wang Wei Ming's campus rape drama, Sex Appeal, which features Leon Dai, Alyssa Chia, Vivian Hsu and Amber Kuo. It took $1.72 million in its opening weekend.

Ice Age: The Meltdown took $1.64 million for a total of $6.14 million after two weeks in Chinese cinemas.

Go! director Isao Yukisada's Five Minutes to Tomorrow was behind that with $1.23 million in revenue in its first four days in the theaters, followed by a reissue of Jeffrey Lau's classic Hong Kong comedy series A Chinese Odyssey.

A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella took $1.18 million in its opening weekend, while the first part of the series, A Chinese Odyssey: Pandora's Box took $930,000.

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Twitter: @cliffordcoonan